By Mike Heiligenstein
Central Texas drivers have really embraced the 183A Extension. On April 6th, the Mobility Authority opened the five-mile-long extension to carry traffic from RM 1431 (Whitestone Boulevard) to north of RM 2243. The extension crosses Hero Way and connects to the San Gabriel Parkway, two new roadways in Williamson County.
For the week that ended May 4th, an average of 16,343 vehicles passed through the Crystal Falls Main Plaza, which is on the extension. That amount of traffic is within 5 percent of projections for calendar year 2012. The plaza was projected to average 17,257 vehicles each weekday by the end of calendar year 2012; it is now on track to exceed those projections. Compared to May 2011, traffic on 183A is up 38%.
As an authority that relies on its own revenues, not taxes to pay its bills, it is good to know that our financial projections are hitting the mark. These traffic numbers are an indication that we made a good decision to expedite construction of the 183A Extension. While we may be collecting the money we need to pay for the road, 183A drivers are saving money in other ways and helping the environment too.
Three years ago, we looked at the five-mile section of 183A that had been built and compared it to US 183. We found:
- 183A drivers spend less time on the road than they used to. Compared to US 183, average travel time was reduced by approximately 15 minutes; a time reduction of more than 75 percent.
- 183A drivers use less fuel. Fuel consumption was reduced for both peak and off-peak hours. Total estimated annual fuel savings were 664,723 gallons.
- 183A drivers generate lower vehicle emissions, which can lead to cleaner air.
At the Mobility Authority, we look for solutions that are innovative and sustainable and will improve economic vitality and decrease congestion. So far, 183A has passed the four-part test with flying colors. Thanks for using 183A.
Mike Heiligenstein is the Executive Director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.